Lost History

The Sordid Contra-Cocaine Saga

Jeremy Renner, portraying journalist Gary Webb, in a scene from the motion picture "Kill the Messenger."
(Photo: Chuck Zlotnick Focus Features)

Special Report: If you ever wondered how the mainstream U.S. media changed from the hard-nosed Watergate press of the 1970s into the brown-nose MSM that swallowed the Iraq War lies, a key middle point was the Contra-cocaine scandal of the 1980s/1990s, the subject of a new movie, reports Robert Parry.

Forgetting Lessons of Terrorism

President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

Terror tactics have always been partly theater designed to elicit public reaction, whether to draw attention to a grievance or to draw the U.S. military into a conflict. Yet, American pols and pundits seem to have forgotten this reality and thus continue to get manipulated, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

NYT’s Belated Admission on Contra-Cocaine

Ronald Reagan statue at National Airport, which was renamed in his honor as his scandals were excused and suppressed.

Exclusive: Since the Contra-cocaine scandal surfaced in 1985, major U.S. news outlets have disparaged it, most notably when the big newspapers destroyed Gary Webb for reviving it in 1996. But a New York Times review of a movie on Webb finally admits the reality, writes Robert Parry.

The Why of Obama’s Failed Hope

President Barack Obama runs onto a stage in Rockville, Maryland, Oct. 3, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The election of Barack Obama in 2008 brought hope and optimism to Americans and non-Americans alike. But after one and a half terms, the reality is sinking in that for all the promised change, it’s the “same old, same old.” The big question is why, writes Australian Greg Maybury.

Hear Parry and Webb Discuss Contra-Cocaine

losthistory

From Editor Robert Parry: In December 1996, I participated in a remarkable joint appearance with journalist Gary Webb to discuss the Contra-cocaine scandal at the Midnight Special bookstore in Santa Monica, California.

How Israel Out-Foxed US Presidents

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office, Oct 1, 2014. The meeting was described as chilly, reflecting the strained relationship between the two leaders. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

From the Archive: After six years, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has nearly weathered his chilly relationship with President Obama and can expect to coast through the next two years ignoring Obama’s appeals. But Obama is not the first U.S. president to be played by Israel, as Morgan Strong wrote in 2010.

Ellsberg Sees Vietnam-Like Risks in ISIS War

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department official who leaked the Pentagon Papers exposing the Vietnam War lies, is alarmed at the many parallels between Vietnam and President Obama’s new military campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as Barbara Koeppel reports.

Standing Up for Lessons of Dissent

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964, a powerful example of how dissenters have addressed injustice in America and given meaning to democracy.

There is a general belief that Americans don’t care much about history, preferring to bask in self-reverential “exceptionalism” with U.S. behavior beyond criticism. But students outside Denver are taking to the streets to protest right-wing efforts to strip dissent from the history curriculum, writes Peter Dreier.

Oh, What a Webb We Weave…

Journalist Gary Webb.

Despite overwhelming evidence linking the CIA to drug traffickers, that sordid reality remains one of the great taboos of the mainstream U.S. media, which rallies to destroy anyone who points out the facts, a fate that befell journalist Gary Webb, as Greg Maybury explains.

Hung Out to Dry

Contra-Cocaine Poster by Robbie Conal (robbieconal.com)

From the Archive: With Hollywood poised to release “Kill the Messenger,” a movie showing how the mainstream U.S. media destroyed journalist Gary Webb for reviving the Contra-cocaine scandal in the mid-1990s, we are reposting Georg Hodel’s 1997 account of how Webb was betrayed by his own editors.